Office of Engineering & Technology Seeks Additional Information Regarding Client-to-Client Device Communications in the 6 GHz Band, 6644-6645 [2021-01404]

Download as PDF 6644 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 13 / Friday, January 22, 2021 / Notices Comment Period Ends: 01/12/2021, Contact: Elizabeth Bly 541–560–3465. Revision to FR Notice Published 11/ 27/2020; Retracted due to erroneous filing. Dated: January 15, 2021. Cindy S. Barger, Director, NEPA Compliance Division, Office of Federal Activities. [FR Doc. 2021–01365 Filed 1–21–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [ET Docket No. 18–295; GN Docket No. 17– 183; DA 21–7; FRS 17404] Office of Engineering & Technology Seeks Additional Information Regarding Client-to-Client Device Communications in the 6 GHz Band Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In this document, the Office of Engineering and Technology seeks additional information to supplement the record on whether the Commission should permit direct communications between unlicensed 6 GHz band client devices. DATES: Comments are due on or before February 22, 2021, and reply comments are due on or before March 23, 2021. ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 45 L Street NE, Washington, DC 20554. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nicholas Oros, Office of Engineering and Technology, 202–418–0636, Nicholas.Oros@fcc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission’s document, Public Notice, DA 21–7, ET Docket No. 18–295, GN Docket No. 17– 183, released January 11, 2021. The full text of this document is available for public inspection and can be downloaded at: https://www.fcc.gov/ document/oet-seeks-info-6-ghz-u-niiclient-client-device-communications or by using the search function for ET Docket No. 18–295 on the Commission’s ECFS web page at www.fcc.gov/ecfs. SUMMARY: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Synopsis 1. In the 6 GHz Further Notice, the Commission sought comment on additional actions that it should take to further expand unlicensed operations in the 6 GHz band through revisions to the existing rules for standard-power or low-power indoor operations or by authorizing a third type of operation, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:27 Jan 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 very low power operations. Among the comments filed, unlicensed proponents requested that the Commission modify its low-power indoor device rules to permit client-to-client device communications, which they assert would enable additional types of innovative unlicensed operations in the band. The Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition opposes any such revisions and asserts that there is no record support for permitting clientto-client communications in this band. 2. In the 6 GHz Order, the Commission prohibited unlicensed client devices from acting as ‘‘mobile hotspots’’ because ‘‘[p]ermitting a client device operating under the control of an access point to authorize the operation of additional client devices could potentially increase the distance between these additional client devices and the access point and increase the potential for harmful interference to fixed service receivers or electronic news gathering operations.’’ To avoid this situation, the Commission’s rules prohibit 6 GHz U–NII client devices from directly communicating with one another. The Commission did not, however, examine whether a more limited approach to indoor client-toclient communications within the ambit of the 6 GHz Notice should be permissible—e.g., when a client is not acting as a mobile hotspot. Accordingly, Apple, Broadcom et al. suggest that client devices be permitted to directly communicate with each other if they can decode an enabling signal transmitted by a low-power indoor access point within the last four seconds. They suggest that the Commission could further constrain client-to-client communications by requiring that the enabling signal be received at a signal strength of at least ¥99 dBm/MHz. According to Apple, Broadcom et al., as a client device could communicate at this signal level with a low-power indoor access point in a traditional access-point-to-client topology under the existing rules, this would ensure each individual client participating in client-to-client communications is safely inside the area where a client device is authorized to communicate with an access point 3. The Commission takes this opportunity to invite interested parties to supplement the record, for the Commission’s consideration, on whether and under what circumstances client devices could be permitted to directly communicate with each other in a limited manner consistent with the rationale underlying the Commission’s decisions in the 6 GHz Order that were targeted at protecting incumbent PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 licensed services. More specifically, the Commission invites comment on whether to permit 6 GHz U–NII client devices to directly communicate when they are under the control of or have received an enabling signal from a lowpower indoor access point. As an initial matter, commenters should explain how they define an enabling signal, what characteristics it must have, how it is similar or different from signals, such as beacons, that access points already use to connect with client devices, and the degree to which an enabling signal would tether a client device not under the direct control of an access point to that access point. Commenters should also provide information on the types of applications that direct client-to-client communications would enable that cannot be accomplished by communications through an access point. In addition, commenters advocating for rule changes should address whether direct client-to-client communications should be under the current power limits or restricted to lower power limits to reduce the potential for harmful interference to incumbent operations. In this connection, the Commission notes that client devices under the control of a low-power indoor access point are permitted to operate up to 24 dBm EIRP over 320-megahertz channels (or ¥1 dBm/MHz). 4. As the 6 GHz Order explained, the requirement that 6 GHz U–NII client devices operate under the control of either a standard-power or low-power indoor access point is designed to prevent client devices from causing harmful interference by limiting their operation either to outdoors in areas where the AFC system has determined that interference will not occur or to indoor locations where other factors such as building entry loss prevent harmful interference. In particular, operations under the control of a lowpower indoor access point is aimed at restricting operation of the client devices to indoor locations. It may be possible for a client device to receive an enabling signal from an access point even when the enabling signal is too weak to enable the client device to conduct communications with the access point. In such situations, the weak received signal level makes it more likely that the client device could be outdoors. By requiring the enabling signal have a specific signal strength, this problem could be potentially avoided. If the Commission were to adopt rules permitting client-to-client communications, should it require the enabling signal from the low-power E:\FR\FM\22JAN1.SGM 22JAN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 13 / Friday, January 22, 2021 / Notices indoor access point to be received by the client device with a particular signal level? Apple, Broadcom et al. suggested ¥99 dBm/MHz: Is this level appropriate? If not, what signal level would be appropriate for this purpose? How can a specific signal level be correlated with the current requirement that the client device be under the control of an access point? For example, under such an approach, should the enabling signal level be of such a strength to effectively require that the signal levels between the access point and client device be sufficiently strong to permit bi-directional communications between the client devices and the access point, thereby ensuring that both client devices are sufficiently close to the access point? How frequently should a client device be required to receive an enabling signal to continue transmitting to another client device? 5. If permitted, should the client devices be limited to receiving an enabling signal from the same access point or could client-to-client communications be permitted so long as each client device receives an enabling signal from any authorized access point? Apple, Broadcom et al.’s suggestion would potentially permit two client devices to communicate even if they receive enabling signals from two different access points. For example, client devices in two different buildings receiving enabling signals from different low-power indoor access points could attempt to communicate with each other. Would permitting this to occur increase the potential for the client devices to cause harmful interference to licensed services? How would a requirement for both devices to receive an enabling signal from the same access point be implemented? Or should other configurations be permitted? For example, could a client device controlled by a standard power access point be permitted to communicate with a client device controlled by a lowpower indoor access point? Could client-to-client communications be permitted between devices when both clients are controlled by a standard power access point? If so, are any changes needed to the AFC systems? Must the enabling signal be received on the same channel for each device under any of the scenarios contemplated? Under any envisioned client-to-client communication scenario, commenters should provide detailed descriptions of how such communications can be enabled including how such communications fit under the current rules that limit client devices to operating only under the control of a VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:27 Jan 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 standard power access point or a lowpower indoor access point or whether, and which, rules would need to be modified. Commenters should provide detailed analysis of how any client-toclient communication configurations they prefer would protect incumbent operations from harmful interference. Finally, commenters should provide any other information they believe relevant to evaluating whether direct client-toclient communications consistent with the rationale of the Commission in the 6 GHz Order should be permitted, including any alternative methods or necessary rule changes not directly noted above. Federal Communications Commission. Ronald T. Repasi, Acting Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology. [FR Doc. 2021–01404 Filed 1–21–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060–0686; FRS 17401] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission’s burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 6645 displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number. DATES: Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before March 23, 2021. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible. ADDRESSES: Direct all PRA comments to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email to PRA@ fcc.gov and to Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418–2918. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OMB Control No.: 3060–0686. Title: International Section 214 Process and Tariff Requirements, 47 CFR Sections 63.10, 63.11, 63.13, 63.18, 63.19, 63.21, 63.22, 63.24, 63.25 and 1.1311. Form No.: International Section 214— New Authorization; International Section 214 Authorization—Transfer of Control/Assignment; International Section 214—Special Temporary Authority and International Section 214—Foreign Carrier Affiliation Notification. Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection. Respondents: Business or other forprofit entities. Number of Respondents: 268 respondents; 455 responses. Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour–20 hours. Frequency of Response: On occasion, annual and quarterly reporting requirements, third party disclosure requirement, and recordkeeping requirement. Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for Part 1 of this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C 151, 154(i), 154(j), 155, 225, 303(r), 309, and 325(e). The statutory authority for Part 63 of this information collection is contained in Sections 1, 4(i), 4(j), 10, 11, 201–205, 214, 218, 403, and 651 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), 160, 201–205, 214, 218, 403, and 571. The statutory authority for this information collection is also contained in the Cable Landing License Act, Executive Order 10530 and the Coastal Zone Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1456. Total Annual Burden: 1,677 hours. E:\FR\FM\22JAN1.SGM 22JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 13 (Friday, January 22, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6644-6645]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-01404]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

[ET Docket No. 18-295; GN Docket No. 17-183; DA 21-7; FRS 17404]


Office of Engineering & Technology Seeks Additional Information 
Regarding Client-to-Client Device Communications in the 6 GHz Band

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In this document, the Office of Engineering and Technology 
seeks additional information to supplement the record on whether the 
Commission should permit direct communications between unlicensed 6 GHz 
band client devices.

DATES: Comments are due on or before February 22, 2021, and reply 
comments are due on or before March 23, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 45 L Street NE, 
Washington, DC 20554.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nicholas Oros, Office of Engineering 
and Technology, 202-418-0636, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's 
document, Public Notice, DA 21-7, ET Docket No. 18-295, GN Docket No. 
17-183, released January 11, 2021. The full text of this document is 
available for public inspection and can be downloaded at: https://www.fcc.gov/document/oet-seeks-info-6-ghz-u-nii-client-client-device-communications or by using the search function for ET Docket No. 18-295 
on the Commission's ECFS web page at www.fcc.gov/ecfs.

Synopsis

    1. In the 6 GHz Further Notice, the Commission sought comment on 
additional actions that it should take to further expand unlicensed 
operations in the 6 GHz band through revisions to the existing rules 
for standard-power or low-power indoor operations or by authorizing a 
third type of operation, very low power operations. Among the comments 
filed, unlicensed proponents requested that the Commission modify its 
low-power indoor device rules to permit client-to-client device 
communications, which they assert would enable additional types of 
innovative unlicensed operations in the band. The Fixed Wireless 
Communications Coalition opposes any such revisions and asserts that 
there is no record support for permitting client-to-client 
communications in this band.
    2. In the 6 GHz Order, the Commission prohibited unlicensed client 
devices from acting as ``mobile hotspots'' because ``[p]ermitting a 
client device operating under the control of an access point to 
authorize the operation of additional client devices could potentially 
increase the distance between these additional client devices and the 
access point and increase the potential for harmful interference to 
fixed service receivers or electronic news gathering operations.'' To 
avoid this situation, the Commission's rules prohibit 6 GHz U-NII 
client devices from directly communicating with one another. The 
Commission did not, however, examine whether a more limited approach to 
indoor client-to-client communications within the ambit of the 6 GHz 
Notice should be permissible--e.g., when a client is not acting as a 
mobile hotspot. Accordingly, Apple, Broadcom et al. suggest that client 
devices be permitted to directly communicate with each other if they 
can decode an enabling signal transmitted by a low-power indoor access 
point within the last four seconds. They suggest that the Commission 
could further constrain client-to-client communications by requiring 
that the enabling signal be received at a signal strength of at least -
99 dBm/MHz. According to Apple, Broadcom et al., as a client device 
could communicate at this signal level with a low-power indoor access 
point in a traditional access-point-to-client topology under the 
existing rules, this would ensure each individual client participating 
in client-to-client communications is safely inside the area where a 
client device is authorized to communicate with an access point
    3. The Commission takes this opportunity to invite interested 
parties to supplement the record, for the Commission's consideration, 
on whether and under what circumstances client devices could be 
permitted to directly communicate with each other in a limited manner 
consistent with the rationale underlying the Commission's decisions in 
the 6 GHz Order that were targeted at protecting incumbent licensed 
services. More specifically, the Commission invites comment on whether 
to permit 6 GHz U-NII client devices to directly communicate when they 
are under the control of or have received an enabling signal from a 
low-power indoor access point. As an initial matter, commenters should 
explain how they define an enabling signal, what characteristics it 
must have, how it is similar or different from signals, such as 
beacons, that access points already use to connect with client devices, 
and the degree to which an enabling signal would tether a client device 
not under the direct control of an access point to that access point. 
Commenters should also provide information on the types of applications 
that direct client-to-client communications would enable that cannot be 
accomplished by communications through an access point. In addition, 
commenters advocating for rule changes should address whether direct 
client-to-client communications should be under the current power 
limits or restricted to lower power limits to reduce the potential for 
harmful interference to incumbent operations. In this connection, the 
Commission notes that client devices under the control of a low-power 
indoor access point are permitted to operate up to 24 dBm EIRP over 
320-megahertz channels (or -1 dBm/MHz).
    4. As the 6 GHz Order explained, the requirement that 6 GHz U-NII 
client devices operate under the control of either a standard-power or 
low-power indoor access point is designed to prevent client devices 
from causing harmful interference by limiting their operation either to 
outdoors in areas where the AFC system has determined that interference 
will not occur or to indoor locations where other factors such as 
building entry loss prevent harmful interference. In particular, 
operations under the control of a low-power indoor access point is 
aimed at restricting operation of the client devices to indoor 
locations. It may be possible for a client device to receive an 
enabling signal from an access point even when the enabling signal is 
too weak to enable the client device to conduct communications with the 
access point. In such situations, the weak received signal level makes 
it more likely that the client device could be outdoors. By requiring 
the enabling signal have a specific signal strength, this problem could 
be potentially avoided. If the Commission were to adopt rules 
permitting client-to-client communications, should it require the 
enabling signal from the low-power

[[Page 6645]]

indoor access point to be received by the client device with a 
particular signal level? Apple, Broadcom et al. suggested -99 dBm/MHz: 
Is this level appropriate? If not, what signal level would be 
appropriate for this purpose? How can a specific signal level be 
correlated with the current requirement that the client device be under 
the control of an access point? For example, under such an approach, 
should the enabling signal level be of such a strength to effectively 
require that the signal levels between the access point and client 
device be sufficiently strong to permit bi-directional communications 
between the client devices and the access point, thereby ensuring that 
both client devices are sufficiently close to the access point? How 
frequently should a client device be required to receive an enabling 
signal to continue transmitting to another client device?
    5. If permitted, should the client devices be limited to receiving 
an enabling signal from the same access point or could client-to-client 
communications be permitted so long as each client device receives an 
enabling signal from any authorized access point? Apple, Broadcom et 
al.'s suggestion would potentially permit two client devices to 
communicate even if they receive enabling signals from two different 
access points. For example, client devices in two different buildings 
receiving enabling signals from different low-power indoor access 
points could attempt to communicate with each other. Would permitting 
this to occur increase the potential for the client devices to cause 
harmful interference to licensed services? How would a requirement for 
both devices to receive an enabling signal from the same access point 
be implemented? Or should other configurations be permitted? For 
example, could a client device controlled by a standard power access 
point be permitted to communicate with a client device controlled by a 
low-power indoor access point? Could client-to-client communications be 
permitted between devices when both clients are controlled by a 
standard power access point? If so, are any changes needed to the AFC 
systems? Must the enabling signal be received on the same channel for 
each device under any of the scenarios contemplated? Under any 
envisioned client-to-client communication scenario, commenters should 
provide detailed descriptions of how such communications can be enabled 
including how such communications fit under the current rules that 
limit client devices to operating only under the control of a standard 
power access point or a low-power indoor access point or whether, and 
which, rules would need to be modified. Commenters should provide 
detailed analysis of how any client-to-client communication 
configurations they prefer would protect incumbent operations from 
harmful interference. Finally, commenters should provide any other 
information they believe relevant to evaluating whether direct client-
to-client communications consistent with the rationale of the 
Commission in the 6 GHz Order should be permitted, including any 
alternative methods or necessary rule changes not directly noted above.

Federal Communications Commission.
Ronald T. Repasi,
Acting Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology.
[FR Doc. 2021-01404 Filed 1-21-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P